Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Aftersun

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Reviews - Aftersun


Reviewed By Vaughan Ames

119 people came to see 'Aftersun' at the weekend, attracted by it winning the BFI Film of the Year and many other awards around theworld. Most reviewers gave it 5 stars and talked about how the director Charlotte Wells had very cleverly shown how memories can be real or imagined years later: the plot they said was about how 31 year old Sophie remembered a holiday with her estranged Dad, Calum, when she was 11. But was it?

Virtually the whole film just showed the holiday, with the occasional 'flashes' – a few seconds long – of a dance with flashing lights where sometimes we could see Calum apparently dancing with Sophie in later years. The holiday was shown though the eyes of Sophie and was very good at showing the relationship building as they got more familiar with each other. We saw Sophie, wonderfully mature for her age, dealing with crises, happy reading a book, sometimes playing, often getting on with older teenagers, and even stealing a kiss with a young boy she meets, while Calum could be seen apparently really sad once on his own and saying things like "I cant imagine reaching 40": was the implication that he would die or even commit suicide? Was this holiday the last time Sophie would see him?

Whilst this was beautifully filmed and was good at showing the problems of small girls and divorced fathers, it was really hard for me to spot much sign of it being 20 year-old memories – if I hadn't read the reviews I am not sure if I would have; I read that the short flashes I mentioned were supposed to be Sophie thinking back... In a short discussion held at the end of the film, there was a mixture of disappointment and pleasure with the film, mirrored in the vote we hold each week, where well over a third of the audience loved it, a third thought it was OK and the rest didn't think much to it. A good film club film, then, as it did cause discussion and make us think; whether it is worthy of such great acclaim is more difficult to understand.

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

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